ORIGINS: Report From the Floor Part 4 (of 4)
by Kyle Baker
Saturday of the convention, the big day. Origins may start on Wednesday, but it's on Saturday that the day trippers arrive, vastly increasing the amount of con-goers. My plans were simple: roll some dice, meet up with one of my gaming group who was day tripping, and show them how Origns works in person. Once he arrived we went to a booth set up at the top of the stairs above the food court. This junction gets a lot of foot traffic, and the people who set up here often have interesting items to show off. This year was no different; ARTEMIS, the starship bridge simulator, was set up on multiple computers and a large projection screen.
Firstly, I'm a Trek fan. I haven't enjoyed sci-fi games in the past, and personally was disappointed with Star Trek Online. When I saw ARTEMIS, I was immediately reminded of my own interpretation of what that game should have been, where each player controlled a specific aspect of the ship- comms, engineering, weapons, navigation, science and even a captain to direct them all; and by working together they flew the ship. And where Star Trek Online had failed, ARTEMIS succeeds. I must have spent a good hour just watching the game played, seeing different groups of players working together to pull off maneuvers in space combat. I saw one captain do a flyby attack to goad an enemy to chase them into low warp where he then dropped mines resulting in the destruction of the chasing ship- with the cheers and applause of the crowd.
Later I met up with one of my gaming group who was day tripping, and we hit a Pathfinder game. Because he only had generic tokens we had to find an open table, which proved a small challenge as the table where the d20Pro projector was set up had open space. Not only was the module fun and challenging, but it also convinced him that using that software would be able to rekindle the old gaming group online.
The game was called 'Kobold's Revenge' and starred a team of six level 5 Kobold heroes. The module was about the last survivors of a Kobold tribe tracking down a party of adventurers who had destroyed the nest while the players were away. It was easily the best underdark (subterranean) adventure I've ever played. The areas were challenging and well thought out to maximize the enemies' advantages. I would give examples, but that would spoil the module for anyone who wants to play it, as it has been available for play for the last 5 years, and they said it would be for years to come. I will give away some info though. The last encounter- the one with the party of adventurers- was one of the best laid attack plans I've ever pulled off. They were camped around a fire, four were visible. We knew from the tracks that there were six adventurers. Each one of those adventurers was higher level than our characters, and a frontal attack would be suicide. Our plan sounded crazy; we cast silence on a pebble then threw it into the campsite, following it up with create water to douse their campfire and make them all blind. Our bard also used grease at the same time, sending their paladin to the ground. The enemy wizard tried to find the source of the magical silence and ended up walking into the greased area as well, and joined the paladin on the ground.
Our rogue capitalized on the confusion, delivering a terrible sneak attack to the wizard. However he was then sneak-attacked himself by the enemy rogue. Our cleric then used a Hold Person spell to lock their rogue in place, letting ours commit a coup de grace on the frozen enemy. Their party continually failed to overcome our party's traps and status affecting spells, while our party had taken all the buffing magic and potions we had on us. In the end, the fight almost wasn't fair- but I loved it.
The mood of our victory was broken by the sound of my alarm going off; it was time to meet Felicia Day in her press panel. I had seen Felicia in her many internet based shows, listened to some of her podcasts, and played Fallout: New Vegas with a companion voiced by her. Meeting her in person was an interesting experience. She has a knack for interviews. By that I mean she can take any question, regardless of how short or obvious and give an interesting and thoughtful answer.
I mentioned in an earlier report that volunteering was the way to experience Origins cheaply and meet lots of good people at the same time. You can find more information on how to become a volunteer at the origins website; http://www.originsgamefair.com/Volunteers/tabid/3166/Default.aspx
That about wraps it up from me this year. I want to again thank everyone at Comic Related, and all of the readers out there in the internet land. If anyone has any follow-up questions or comments please leave them!
Kyle Baker is a multi-faceted nerd with interests in table top, dice and miniture based gaming, comics, movies and other areas of pop culture. He has been an active gamer for more tha 12 years and runs weekly RPGs with his friends via the internet and from his home. He is married to avid cosplayer, gamer and Comic Relady Kelsey Benoit.
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